Meet a Cycling Advocate

Adrian Currie sits on the advocacy committee of Cycle Toronto, which is in charge of programs and issues facing cycling infrastructure in Toronto.

How did Cycle Toronto come to partner with Civic Tech to find a solution to the bike parking problem in Toronto?

In 2016 the Bike Parking Working Group, a subgroup of the advocacy committee of Cycle Toronto, was created to address the serious lack of bike parking in the city. Arthur and I serve as the co-chairs and its mission is to gather as much information through data collection and talking to stakeholders. It’s been a slow process with a lot of bureaucracy, but during this process we met Adam Popper at the City of Toronto who was in charge of creating a bike parking strategy. His strategy tackled the issue by involving the public and cycling community and coming up with a way to have the cycling community share information about where bike parking is lacking or where are problems with the current bike parking. The City set aside some money to create an app and the raw data could be shared with all bike parking stakeholders including the City, private companies, and BIAs. This way anyone could have access to the data and the City could see where there are requests for bike parking. Bike parking can be installed relative to the demand in an open and democratic manner.

As chair of Bike Parking Working Group, why is bike parking an important issue facing the Toronto cycling community?

The fact that there isn’t enough bike parking is a serious issue. Cycling in the city has increased, especially with the introduction of cycle tracks, contra-flow lanes, and separate bike lanes on Bloor Street, but the amount of bike parking has not kept up with the demand. This forces cyclists to lock their bikes to trees or anywhere they can find and this can lead to theft or property damage.

How is this partnership with Civic Tech different from other partnerships Cycle Toronto has had with community groups in the past?

This partnership is different because the City of Toronto has taken the lead, rather than Cycle Toronto.

How has Cycle Toronto been involved in the development of the app?

We’ve given Civic Tech access to our membership. We identified 30 or 40 “cycling experts”, people who are dialed into the cycling community, to give feedback on bike parking and a questionnaire was sent to our members asking them how they feel about bike parking in the city. Over 300 people responded about issues they experience while parking their bikes. Over the past two months, Cycle Toronto has used its social media accounts to share the beta version of the BikeSpace app. We wanted people to have a chance to test the app so that it can be as efficient and effective as possible ahead of the launch of the final version.

What does Cycle Toronto hope for the future of BikeSpace?

Our goal for BikeSpace is to have it be as successful as possible. We hope for a successful rollout of the app and that the cycle community will accept it and use it to add as many data points as possible. We would like to share this information with whomever has a stake in bike parking in Toronto including private companies and BIAs to lobby for more bike parking.

On Tuesday, July 24, Civic Tech will celebrate that the app is ready with the public launch and we would like to encourage people to use the app.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

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